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News from the world of cruise travel ~
August 16-30, 2003

For schedule changes & departure information on a specific cruise line or port of call, please select Latest Updates by Cruise Line

SARS Updates from the cruise industry

Important Travel Safety Information letter from Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Royal Caribbean International

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MIAMI -- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced that America's first ocean-going U.S. Flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years will feature a vibrant artistic interpretation of the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States' national bird--the Bald Eagle--on the hull of its new ship, Pride of America. The eagle artwork, splashed with stars and stripes in striking red, white and blue colors will run on both sides of the hull in a dynamic celebration of America.

"Pride of America signifies the Best of America and we wanted to celebrate the Stars and Stripes and the country's greatest American emblem the Bald Eagle," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "This artwork will certainly set the tone for the Best of America theme running throughout the Pride of America. Once our guests are inside, they will enjoy the diverse regions of America from Alaska to Texas to New Orleans to Washington, D.C and of course Hawaii."

The company will show the hull artwork, designed by Graphic Designer Keith Allan, for the first time to U.S. audiences in May of 2004 when the ship arrives in Boston. NCL is continuing a trend it started with Norwegian Dawn last year in utilizing its hull as a canvas illustrating attributes of the ship.

Pride of America will sail under the company's new U.S. Flag brand - NCL America- with 100 percent U.S. officers and crew. She begins service next year in Hawaii in July 2004, offering seven-night inter-island cruises round trip from Honolulu. Pride of America will feature the innovative attributes of NCL's newest Freestyle Cruising fleet. She features eight restaurants offering traditional dining experiences in two main restaurants plus multiple alternative dining venues, from formal to casual and 24-hour room service.

Pride of America Hull Artwork
With over 660 balcony staterooms, the ship offers the broadest range of family-friendly interconnecting cabins available at sea, state-of-the-art entertainment venues, three pools, extensive children's facilities, an abundance of spacious public rooms, and the largest dedicated meeting facilities at sea. All inspired by the diverse regions of America. The ship will also include several firsts for NCL including a Conservatory, a new category of Family Suites, Tennis Court and an Art Gallery.

About the Artist
Graphic designer Keith Allan was born in Mozambique, grew up in South Africa and began his career as a graphic designer in Johannesburg. Allan moved to London in 1996 to continue his career with SMC & Tillberg Design Group, world-renowned architects and interior design company who designed Pride of America. Allan, who did the hull artwork on Norwegian Dawn, has been instrumental in the design of Norwegian Star and several Star Cruises vessels, including the Superstar Leo and Superstar Virgo.

For further information on NCL, contact a travel agent or NCL in the US and Canada at (800) 327-7030.

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Parsons School of Design and Crystal Cruises Partner to Offer Classes at Sea

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29 -- From the mysteries of wall coverings and room color, to creating striking bouquets and works of art, Parsons School of Design now hosts a series of compelling design classes at sea. Part of the Crystal Cruises "Creative Learning Institute," Parsons School of Design will provide introductory classes in fine art, floral design, and interior design. Parsons also enhances the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, an onboard program dedicated to providing guests with some of the world's leading lecturers and entertainers.

The Creative Learning Institute debuted on Crystal Serenity, the latest and largest addition to the Crystal Cruises fleet. On selected itineraries, Parsons faculty will introduce the essential tools and ideas behind interior design, fine art and floral design. Interior Design classes will introduce antiques and furniture, while floral design presents the rewarding struggle to solve visual problems using living materials. In fine arts classes students will explore drawing, sculpture and painting.

"We're proud to offer Parsons classes as part of the Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute program," said Adam Leavitt, Crystal's senior vice president of marketing. "Along with others, including Sotheby's, Berlitz, and the Society of Wine Educators, Parsons will help us to enrich the mind, body and spirit by extending new opportunities for personal growth through their classes."

About Crystal Cruises' Creative Learning Institute
Innovative in concept and progressive in nature, Crystal's Creative Learning Institute is an extensive new series of interactive classes providing comprehensive instruction focusing on improving wellness and enhancing quality of life. In keeping with Crystal's penchant for quality alliances, the newly- minted CLI has partnered with well-known organizations and schools - such as Yamaha, The Cleveland Clinic, Society of Wine Educators, Tai Chi Cultural Center, BOOK magazine and Barnes&, as well as Parsons School of Design--to bring experts in their respective fields aboard to share their knowledge in a classroom setting. Offered as a series of classes, vs. single lectures, the CLI curriculums feature progressive levels of instruction on a single subject or several one-class sessions of related topics.

About Parsons School of Design
Parsons School of Design, a division of New School University, is one of the largest degree-granting colleges of art and design in the nation. Currently enrolled are about 2,400 undergraduate students, 500 graduate students, and 2,500 non-degree students from all 50 of the United States and from 60 countries. For further information on Parsons, call 212-229-8910 or visit the Web site at

About Crystal Cruises
The newest member of Crystal Cruises' Six-Star-rated fleet, the 68,000-ton, 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity is one of the most spacious and luxurious ships afloat. Among her many amenities are expansive areas for spa services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits, gourmet specialty restaurants, all outside staterooms with most offering private verandahs, and two decks of butler-serviced penthouses. Crystal Serenity will cruise the Mediterranean through October, will begin Caribbean and a Panama Canal cruise in the late fall and will cruise the Mexican Riviera during the Christmas/New Year holidays. In January, she begins her inaugural World Cruise of 106 days. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663. Visit the web site at

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Cruise Lines Expand Contribution to U.S. Economy
$20.4 Billion Generated in 2002 - Nearly 10% Growth

Record Number of Passengers Spurs Lines' Increased Purchases

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 28 -- The North American cruise industry generated $20.4 billion in economic activity within the United States in 2002, nearly a ten percent increase from 2001, according to an annual study by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA). Commissioned by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), the study details cruise lines' economic contributions and examines the extensive links that cruise lines have with major U.S. industries. The report cites the cruise industry's record high for global passenger carryings in 2002 as a major factor in its increased economic activity. An estimated 9.2 million passengers took cruises worldwide during 2002, a 9.8 percent increase over 2001. Over 80 percent, or 7.5 million, of the global passengers were U.S. residents, up 10.5 percent from the previous year. Industry capacity increased 13 percent over 2001.

"The cruise industry was one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy during 2002, particularly for the hard hit travel and tourism sector," said ICCL President J. Michael Crye. "Our growth has ripple effects across the entire U.S. economy. Cruise line passengers spend money in port cities, our lines employ thousands of American residents and the industry is a significant purchaser of U.S. goods and services."

According to the report, the industry has continued to stimulate consumer demand by deploying more ships in the North American market, accelerating its move to shorter cruises and cruises that originate in drive-to markets, and lowering fares. These moves especially attracted first-time cruisers, and provided an opportunity to broaden the industry's penetration into the vacation market.

The study's major findings include:

* Direct spending: $11.9 billion -- resulted from cruise lines and their passengers' direct spending in the U.S. for goods, services, wages and taxes representing more than half of the economic activity generated and an 8.8% increase over 2001.

  • The economic benefits arise from several principal sources: spending by passengers and crew on goods and services (travel between residence and the port, pre- and post-cruise vacation spending); cruise line shore-side staffing; spending by cruise lines on goods and services, port services and vessel maintenance and repair.

  • Cruise passengers and crew spent over $800 million in non-transportation expenditures creating more than 12,500 jobs in the retail trade and lodging sectors, which generated $272 million in wage income.

  • Since 1999, direct spending by cruise lines on U.S. goods and services has grown by more than 32 percent, while wages and taxes paid have increased by 48 percent.

* Jobs: The cruise industry spurred the employment of 279,112 U.S. workers, a 4.2 percent increase over 2001. These workers were paid a total $10.6 billion in wages.

  • Cruise lines directly employed more than 28,000 U.S. residents and paid $796 million in wage income.

  • U.S. ports: The number of embarkations at U.S. ports increased by 10.2% and totaled 6.5 million in 2002. These accounted for 71% of global embarkations.

  • The average port-of-call passenger spent just over $82 per visit.

  • The study estimates that a 2000-passenger ship with a crew of 950 would generate approximately $180,000 in passenger and crew on-shore spending per U.S. port of call.

* States: The cruise industry generated economic activity in all 50 states. Ten states benefited the most from spending by cruise lines, their employees and passengers. Three out of every four dollars spent directly went to- Florida, California, New York, Alaska, Washington, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The complete economic study can be found on ICCL's Web site at

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"Europe by Land and Sea" custom-designed honeymoon features "Personalized Voyage" aboard "Silver Wind"

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August 28, 2003 -- Silversea Cruises' innovative Personalized Voyages program has helped create one of the "Dream Honeymoon" options unveiled yesterday on NBC's "Today Throws a Wedding". A Personalized Voyage aboard the ultra-luxury line's Silver Wind is featured in the "Europe by Land and Sea" romantic getaway, custom-designed by luxury-travel specialist Cindy Polster of Virtuoso's House of Travel International in Northfield, Illinois. For the next several days, Polster's entry will be competing against three other destinations to be chosen by the public as the ideal honeymoon for the show's lucky couple, Chris and Seneca. Of thirty destinations originally proposed, only four were selected as finalists.

"Because of the flexibility offered by Personalized Voyages, travel agents have a great tool for custom-designing their clients' dream vacations," said Jim McHugh, Silversea's Vice President of Sales - Americas. "Ms. Polster has skillfully leveraged our Personalized Voyages program to create a unique and inspired honeymoon adventure that draws together some of the world's most luxurious travel options." Added McHugh, "Custom-designed honeymoons are just one example of the creative potential of Personalized Voyages. With enough imagination, you can create any number of unique land-and-sea vacations that revolve around an array of themes, like golf, or culinary, wine and cultural expeditions, to name a few. Because Personalized Voyages allows guests to decide when and where they will embark and disembark from their cruise, they have enormous flexibility to design a vacation that fits their schedule and particular travel interests."

If selected by the viewing audience, the "Europe by Land and Sea" honeymoon (Option #4) will offer the newlywed couple a chance to join Silversea's intimate 296-guest Silver Wind in Monte Carlo on September 4, where they will be greeted with the cruise line's famous pampering, red-carpet treatment as they set sail to some of the world's most romantic destinations. Their luxurious five-day Personalized Voyage will navigate the colorful waters of the Mediterranean, visiting several enchanting port cities, such as Marseille, Barcelona and Malaga, where the couple will embark on private tours arranged through TRAVCOA, the luxury-tour operator. After their Silversea cruise, the newlyweds will continue on to Paris where they will spend the last four nights of their honeymoon at a Four Seasons hotel. 

Viewers of NBC's Today Show can vote for their favorite honeymoon for Chris and Seneca by visiting The couple will learn which honeymoon the audience selected after they are married on the Today Show next Wednesday, September 3.

2004 will be an exciting year as Silversea celebrates its 10th anniversary. Look for upcoming announcements about gala events and special programs to celebrate the line's ten years of excellence. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Commander Mark J. Gaouette has joined Princess Cruises as the line's director of security. In this position, he will oversee the security operations for Princess' fleet of 11 ships, which call at more than 260 ports around the world. Gaouette brings to Princess more than 20 years of active duty and reserve experience in the U.S. Navy as well as considerable background as a criminal investigator and force protection officer with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in San Diego. In addition, Gaouette has served as a special agent with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, with assignments as a Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassies in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Moscow, Beirut and Yemen.

"With his naval background and security experience with the Department of State, Commander Gaouette comes uniquely qualified to address security issues that have arisen worldwide in recent times," said Brian Langston-Carter, executive vice president of fleet operations for Princess. "The safety and security of our passengers, crew and ships remains our highest priority, and we are pleased to have his expertise as he oversees this key area for us."

Well versed in maritime security issues, Gaouette earned his Surface Warfare Officer designation standing shipboard watches as officer of the deck, combat information center watch officer and engineering officer of the watch during his active duty aboard the USS Tarawa. As part of the U.S. Naval Reserve, Gaouette served in a variety of Naval Intelligence Reserve Units, providing counterintelligence and counter-terrorism support to the Navy's fleets. As a civilian special agent with the Department of State, he has served in a variety of domestic and overseas assignments including Diplomatic Security Service Headquarters at the Department of State in Washington D.C. Gaouette also saw brief service as a civilian special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Gaouette holds numerous service medals and commendations from the Navy, including the Navy/Marine Achievement Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, earned for force protection support to Operation "Enduring Freedom" in 2003.

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Radisson Seven Seas Bids Sad Farewell to Song of Flower with "Finale Season Voyages"
August-October Cruises in Western Europe & Med Feature Special Offers & Reunions with Favorite Staff

Sold to European Company, Vessel To Be Renamed & Marketed Outside North America After October 15 Cruise

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL -- The acclaimed 180-guest Song of Flower, the yacht-like gem of luxury cruising that has long enjoyed a devoted following, will sail her finale season of seven voyages in Western Europe and the Mediterranean August 30 - October 15, 2003, before she is retired from the fleet of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. The ship has been sold to a European company that will market the vessel under a new name outside North America, according to Mark Conroy, president and CEO of Radisson Seven Seas.

"As our oldest vessel, the Song of Flower has set the standard for Radisson Seven Seas, and we are sad to let her go," said Mark Conroy. "She is part of our 'DNA', and one of the reasons that we will carry over 100,000 guests this year aboard our acclaimed fleet." Conroy continued, "The spirit of Song of Flower will continue to be part of the fleet and guests will recognize this whether they are aboard the twin-hulled Radisson Diamond in the Caribbean and Europe, the elegant Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia, the all-suite Seven Seas Navigator in Bermuda, New England & Canada, or the all-balcony suite Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager cruising worldwide destinations."

While Song of Flower will be retired from the fleet, many of her crewmembers will be absorbed into staff rotations on the line's other ships. In addition, her traditions will be kept alive aboard Radisson Seven Seas' other top-rated vessels, which embody the personable service and attentive hospitality that made Song of Flower legendary.

In addition to retaining the name of the ship, Radisson Seven Seas is celebrating her colorful career by offering guests who join Song of Flower's officers and crew in bidding her adieu their choice of free roundtrip economy-class air from 84 North American gateways, or free business class air upgrade at economy-class add-on rate, or $1,000 per person air credit.

Favorite staff and lecturers drawn from almost a decade and a half of memorable Song of Flower cruises will be aboard for some or all of the "farewell season." Fittingly, the ever-popular Captain Dag Dvergastein (currently master of the all-balcony suite 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager), who was at the helm of Song of Flower for much of her career - including historic first-ever itineraries in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Far East - will command her final three cruises on October 1, 8 and 15.

The series of seven "Farewell Song of Flower" cruises is as follows:

  • August 30, British Isles, ten-night Edinburgh to Rouen cruise, from $3,775
  • Sept. 8, Western Europe, ten-night Rouen to Lisbon cruise from $3,595
  • Sept. 17, Mediterranean, seven-night Lisbon to Rome cruise from $2,965
  • Sept. 24, Mediterranean, seven-night Rome to Venice cruise from $2,965 
  • Oct. 1, Mediterranean, seven-night Venice to Athens cruise from $2,965
  • Oct. 8, Mediterranean, seven-night Athens to Venice cruise from $2,965
  • Oct. 15, Mediterranean, seven-night Venice to Rome cruise (including a shipboard overnight in Venice) from $2,875

All prices are per person, double occupancy, and include shipboard gratuities, an in-stateroom bar set-up, and all wine and spirits consumed aboard. Free roundtrip economy class air is available from 84 North American gateways, or low cost air add-ons are available from $1,059 per person for those opting for the free upgrade to business class. Alternatively, guests may choose a $1,000 per person air credit. During 14 years in service, Song of Flower's Scandinavian craftsmanship, impeccable service, sensational itineraries and reputation for excellence became legendary among cruisers who sailed on her repeatedly - showing an unusual degree of loyalty in today's cruise industry.

Built in 1986 as the Exploration Starship, rebuilt in 1989 and christened Song of Flower in 1990, the ship was consistently voted "Best Value" in the Ultra-Deluxe category by the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society and won the praise of seasoned travelers and travel writers alike.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has launched a new generation of widely acclaimed luxury cruise ships that has raised the bar for today's sophisticated travelers. The line owns the all-balcony suite concept as well as an exclusive program of Le Cordon Bleu® cooking workshops-at-sea. 

For further information, contact Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, 600 Corporate Drive, Suite 410, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33334; or toll-free 800-477-7500; for brochures and reservation information toll-free 800-285-1835; or visit the Web site For reservations contact your travel professional.

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Arison Family to Reduce Ownership of 
Carnival Corp & plc
by up to 4%

MIAMI, Aug. 26 -- Carnival Corporation & plc announced today that members of the Arison family and certain related entities, including a charitable trust organized by members of the Arison family, have advised Carnival Corporation that they plan to sell up to 32 million shares of Carnival Corporation Common Stock over the next two years in market sales, representing up to approximately 4% of the total combined voting rights of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Of the shares planned for sale, up to 17 million shares are held either directly or indirectly by Micky Arison, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. If all the shares covered by the sales plan are sold, the Arison family and related entities will remain beneficial owners of approximately 246 million shares, constituting approximately 31% of the total combined voting rights of Carnival Corporation & plc.

The sellers have advised Carnival Corporation that they are selling for tax planning, estate planning and diversification purposes. The charitable trust is also selling for tax related reasons. In connection with the sales, the sellers are expected to enter into one or more sales plans under Rule 10b5-1. Rule 10b5-1 permits the creation of written plans for buying or selling stock at a time when insiders are not in possession of material non- public information. Once a plan is established, the insider does not retain or exercise any discretion over sales of stock under the plan and the pre- planned trades can be executed at later dates as set forth in the plan, without regard to any subsequent material non-public information that the insider might receive.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of 13 cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Windstar Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Ocean Village, Swan Hellenic, AIDA, A'ROSA, and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 70 ships totaling more than 110,800 lower berths with 13 new ships scheduled for delivery between now and mid-2006. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates three riverboats on Europe's Danube River and the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

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Crystal Cruises Offers First-Ever Inter-Island Hawaii Itineraries Roundtrip From Honolulu
Fare Reductions of up to 45 Percent Available

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 -- For the first time ever, Crystal Cruises will offer three 10-day Hawaii itineraries roundtrip from Honolulu aboard the Six-Star Crystal Harmony. The itineraries will couple Crystal's awarding-winning ultra-luxury onboard experience with a host of exotic Hawaiian ports of call. The sailings also afford guests a unique savings opportunity: fares start at $2,495 per person, double, which is 45 percent lower than previous brochure fares.

The exclusive series of voyages is available on January 24, and February 3 and 13. Crystal Harmony will make calls at the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati, and Maui. Ashore, Crystal will be offering tours to Pearl Harbor, visits to Haleakala National Park, volcano flight-seeing adventures, and hikes through tropical rainforests.

"Crystal Harmony offers the most luxurious, stimulating, and stress-free way to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands," said Adam Leavitt, Crystal's senior vice president, marketing. "Whether one frequents the islands or is a first-time visitor, our guests will experience a perfect winter getaway on Crystal Harmony."

As an additional bonus, the Hawaii cruises will feature two separate onboard themes--finance and fitness--to help guests jumpstart their physical and financial health in the New Year. Guests can take advantage of a series of personal finance classes led by experts in the field, as well as a host of fitness classes that will be added to the ship's already abundant roster of yoga, aerobics and Pilates offerings. Crystal Harmony's Feng Shui designed spa provides a soothing and indulgent environment for more than two dozen types of therapeutic facials and relaxing or invigorating body treatments.

Crystal Harmony is one of the most elegant, spacious vessels afloat in the world today. Its size -- 50,000-tons, 940-guest ships -- provides for flawless sailing experiences and allows for a range of cutting edge facilities, amenities and accommodations. Crystal Harmony boasts expansive deck space, stylish lounges, opulent spas outfitted in accordance with Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, the only Caesars Palace Casino at Sea afloat, and the ground-breaking Computer University@Sea, which offers 24-hour e-mail and Internet access and hands-on instruction. The ship also features specialty restaurants and award-winning cuisine, chic Penthouses and beautifully appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August 22, 2003 -- Silversea Cruises today announced it has appointed cruise-industry veteran Erling Frydenberg to the newly created position of Chief Operations Officer. Frydenberg will be based at the company's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and will oversee marine, hotel, culinary, entertainment, and tour operations.

"Silversea will benefit from Erling's extensive cruise-industry knowledge, expertise in hospitality management, and established record of leadership," said Albert Peter, Silversea's Chief Executive Officer. "In the role of Chief Operations Officer, he will be able to offer invaluable strategic guidance in helping us to maintain and further develop our reputation for excellence and innovation in the luxury cruise segment."

"I am extremely honored and excited to be joining Silversea Cruises," said Frydenberg. "Silversea is an exceptional cruise company and I am dedicated to preserving and strengthening its long tradition of excellence."

Frydenberg is an accomplished veteran of the luxury-cruise industry and brings over twenty years of niche cruise-industry experience to his new position at Silversea Cruises. He began his career with Royal Viking Line as a shipboard Hotel Manager and was later appointed Vice President of Hotel Operations. He subsequently joined Crystal Cruises and served as Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations for six years. Most recently, Frydenberg held the post of Vice President, Hotel Operations, for Disney Cruise Line, where he was a member of the management team that planned, developed and launched the line's ships.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance.  For the fifth time, Silversea was selected "Number One" small-ship line in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2003. 2004 will be an exciting year as Silversea celebrates its 10th anniversary. Look for upcoming announcements about gala events and special programs to celebrate the line's ten years of excellence. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Royal Caribbean Offers Families And Groups The 'Royal' Treatment; New Royal Reunions Program Makes Get-togethers More Enjoyable Than Ever

MIAMI, Aug. 21 -- Whether it's the annual gathering of the extended clan or a one-time convening of classmates who haven't seen each other since college, Royal Caribbean International is introducing a new program, Royal Reunions, designed to enhance family and group gatherings.

"A Royal Caribbean cruise is the perfect place for a reunion or get- together," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean. "Our new Royal Reunions program takes group travel to a new level with additional amenities and activities that make a special event even more enjoyable and memorable. Cruising is an ideal choice for both small and large groups that want to travel together," Hanrahan added. "Royal Caribbean ships offer all the components for a successful reunion--activities for all ages, group dining, nearby or adjoining rooms, our award-winning Adventure Ocean kids program, shopping, and entertainment--all neatly bundled into a safe, convenient and affordable package."

Destination reunions are increasingly popular. According to a recent survey by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), at least two thirds of agents who booked travel for family reunions within the past year cited cruises as the most popular destination.

The new Royal Reunions program offers two packages designed to create a celebratory mood for reunion cruisers and help the group members feel connected onboard. The standard Royal Reunions package includes fun touches like festive stateroom door decorations, a welcome aboard letter from the captain and special Royal Reunions logo gifts, as well as a group photo for each member of the reunion party and a personalized farewell cake on the last evening of the cruise.

Guests also get a choice between passes to the Aqua Park at one of Royal Caribbean's private beach destinations, Labadee or CocoCay, or a special Sports Deck pass that allows holders to go to the head of the line. In addition, all groups will be invited to compete in a Daily Reunion Challenge that lets them match wits with other reunion groups onboard.

The Royal Reunions Elite package includes all of the standard package's amenities and adds organized group activities run by the ship's cruise staff. Group members compete against each other in a special scavenger hunt, and see who knows the most about other members of the party in a customized Reunion Trivia Challenge. Royal Reunions Elite groups also receive daily VIP treats delivered to each member's stateroom.

Royal Reunions packages are available to groups booking eight or more staterooms at an additional $50 per person for the standard package and $100 per person for Royal Reunions Elite. The Royal Reunions packages are currently available on all of Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships -- Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and the new Mariner of the Seas, which debuts in November 2003. The company plans to expand the program in the future, taking it fleetwide and adding additional package options.

Voyager-class Ships Offer Ideal Reunion Sites
Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships -- the world's largest and most innovative cruise ships -- are the perfect setting for a great reunion, offering a wide range of activities and entertainment to allow groups to spend quality time together, whether they want to see a show, enjoy a meal, or just sit and catch up in one of the ships' many lounges.

Voyager-class ships have numerous dining options from family-favorite Johnny Rocket's diners to spectacular three-storied formal dining rooms to the intimate Chops Grille steakhouse specialty restaurants. The heart of the Voyager-class ships is the Royal Promenade, a "street" longer than a football field that runs down the center of the ships and is lined with shops, bars and a casual, 24-hour coffee and snack shop, the Cafe Promenade. Voyager-class ships also feature an unparalleled number of onboard activities, including rock climbing, miniature golf, in-line skating and ice skating. Each ship has a ShipShape Fitness Center and Day Spa, some of the largest gyms afloat.

All Royal Caribbean ships offer the line's industry-leading Adventure Ocean Youth Program. Adventure Ocean is free for kids ages 3 to 17, and features supervised games, sports and educational activities throughout the day. For the whole family, the Adventure Family Program lets parents and kids spend quality playtime together through activities like shipbuilding regattas, talent shows, scavenger hunts and family karaoke sing-alongs.

For accommodations, groups on Voyager-class ships have a wide range of stateroom categories to choose from, including connecting rooms and specially designed family staterooms and suites. Guests with disabilities also can choose from a selection of accessible staterooms in different categories. All accessible staterooms are designed to accommodate guests in wheelchairs as well as those with visual or audio impairments.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 17 ships in service and two more under construction. The company also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe through its cruisetour division. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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From Sea To Shining Sea: 'A True Departure' Is Closer Than Ever; Celebrity Cruises Offers International Itineraries from 11 U.S. Cities

MIAMI, Aug. 21 -- The American Automobile Association projects that 84 percent of Americans taking a vacation will drive to their destination, and next year, Celebrity Cruises will make it even easier for those travelers to reach their next premium cruise departure. In 2004, Celebrity will offer cruises from 11 different mainland U.S. cities, ensuring that whether guests reside in the Texas plains or on the California beaches, a Celebrity vacation "with a taste of luxury" is just a short drive away.

With the addition of new departure ports such as Jacksonville, Fla., and Philadelphia, Pa., offering Caribbean and Bermuda itineraries this Fall, the nine-ship Celebrity fleet next year will sail for the first time from Galveston, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; and Seattle, Washington.

Celebrity's US-based fleet deployment for 2004 follows:

Homeport                    Ship                 Itinerary
New York, N.Y.             Zenith                Bermuda
                                   Constellation       Canada/New England
Philadelphia, Pa.           Horizon              Bermuda
Baltimore, Md.              Galaxy               Caribbean, Canada,
Norfolk, Va.                  Horizon              Bermuda
Jacksonville, Fla.          Zenith                Caribbean
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.       Century              East/West Caribbean
                                   Millennium          East Caribbean,
                                   Summit              Caribbean, Panama Canal
                                   Infinity                Panama Canal
Tampa, Fla.                  Horizon               Caribbean
Galveston, Texas          Galaxy                Panama Canal
San Diego, Calif.           Mercury              Mexican Riviera
                                   Infinity                Panama Canal
San Francisco, Calif.     Mercury              Mexican Riviera, Alaska
Seattle, Wash.              Mercury              Alaska

The industry's highest-rated premium cruise line with a taste of luxury, Celebrity Cruises' nine-ship fleet is the youngest of any major line. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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SeaDream Yacht Club Extends No Stress, No Strings, No Cancellation Penalties

SeaDream Yacht Club has extended its pioneering NO STRESS, NO STRINGS, NO CANCELLATION PENALTY policy. The ground breaking program was instituted in January 2003 to reassure guests that even in stressful times, they have the comfort of knowing they may change their Sea Dream travel plans without penalty, knowing their investment is secure. The extended program is now not only applicable for SeaDream sailings booked in 2003 for departure dates in 2003 but for 2004 as well.

Larry Pimentel, CTC, President and CEO of SeaDream states: “This No Stress, No Strings, No Cancellation Policy is not a substitute for medical or other insurance which we recommend strongly.” Should the guest have purchased optional insurance it will not be credited. The cost will be deducted from the credit for the future sailing. Pimentel adds: “This program is not applicable for full yacht charters.”

When first announced in January this year, Pimentel stated: “My experience indicates that travelers are pragmatic and resilient about their vacation plans. Yet, all of us are in need of reassurances, especially in highly stressful times such as we are experiencing now. In this case, perhaps SeaDream’s combination of no penalties for cancellations, plus the two year grace period to re-book will provide some of the reassurance travelers need.”

Unlike several, similar passenger shipping company policies that followed the initial SeaDream announcement, this one doesn’t cost anything. Here is how SeaDream’s program works.

  • Guests can change or postpone their SeaDream travel plans for any reason up to the date of departure and receive100 percent travel credit of the SeaDream tariff, including government fees, handling and service charges. This money is applied toward a future sailing on one of the ultra-luxury mega yachts SeaDream I or II within two years of the original booking.

  • Guests need only to advise their travel agent of their desire to cancel their original booking prior to embarkation. The agent will advise SeaDream (prior to embarkation) and the original monies will be credited to the guest’s SeaDream account for use within a two year period.

  • When the guest elects to re-book, within the specified two years, the amount paid for the original booking is applied. If the re-booking costs less than the original, the balance is applied for the remainder of the two year period. If the re-booking costs more than the original, the guest pays the difference. Should a guest wish a cash refund normal policies apply. Refund amounts in this case are based on how far prior to sailing date, SeaDream is advised of the cancellation; a normal practice in the passenger shipping industry.

SeaDream Yacht Club is the yachting venture by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad who founded Seabourn Cruise Line, and Larry Pimentel who was president of Seabourn under Brynestad and later president and CEO of the merged Cunard and Seabourn. Pimentel is President and CEO of the Coconut Grove, Florida-headquartered SeaDream Yacht Club and a co-owner. Brynestad is Chairman. The company operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, twin, ultra luxury, mega yachts that operate on seven-day sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual holiday experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. SeaDream I and II share the top Five-Star Club award in the Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003 guidebook. In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 23 28 96 60. The website is

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New vacation package combines private jet with QM2 transatlantic

MIAMI - What could be better than cruising in the best suite on board the $780-million luxury liner Queen Mary 2? Only one thing: flying to or from the ship via your own private Gulfstream IV-SP jet. Under a new partnership between Cunard Line and Marquis Jet, travellers now have the option to purchase private air transportation in connection with itineraries offered aboard the new Queen Mary 2 - the longest, tallest, widest and most expensive luxury liner ever built.

"The Ultimate QM2 Vacation," an exclusive package offered by Cunard, pairs one of the two top suites on QM2 for a six-night crossing between Southampton, England, and New York with one-way transatlantic air via private jet and two-night stays in the most luxurious suites of the Mandarin Oriental hotels in New York and London, plus ground transfers by limousine.

"QM2 is the grandest passenger ship the world has ever known," said Deborah Natansohn, Cunard's senior vice president, sales and marketing. "This new service allows our passengers to indulge themselves by combining a cruise or crossing with Marquis Jet, the ultimate in private air service for a for a truly extraordinary, pampering holiday."

The Ultimate QM2 Vacation is priced at $99,850 per person, based on double occupancy. As many as 10 passengers can travel by private jet - the extra eight guests must pay for their accommodations at sea and ashore. Passengers can also purchase Marquis Jet's private jet services in combination with any voyage.

In 2004 - her inaugural year - Queen Mary 2 will offer 15 transatlantic crossings as she takes over the role currently operated by her sister ship, Queen Elizabeth 2. The vessel will also introduce a series of Caribbean cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio and back, timed for Carnival; five Europe itineraries and two fall cruises to Canada & New England. 

Among the ship's extraordinary facilities are 10 dining venues, including the only shipboard restaurant by celebrity chef Todd English, the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea, the world's first planetarium at sea, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, the largest wine collection at sea and the only Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar at sea. There are several other bars and lounges, a two-story theatre, casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, boutiques, a pet kennel, and a children's facility, complete with British nannies. 

For more information on "The Ultimate QM2 Vacation" package, consult a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website at

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Unless otherwise noted, all news items are sourced by individual cruise lines, cruise-related industries, and their agents.

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